Author Topic: Anybody got some tips for releasing a product?  (Read 610 times)

Offline TMaxElectronics

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Anybody got some tips for releasing a product?
« on: January 22, 2021, 12:46:22 AM »
So I have gotten quite a few emails asking me if I sold my MidiSticks (https://highvoltageforum.net/index.php?topic=1117.msg10567#msg10567) somewhere, and decided to do a small production run and release them as a proper product.

Has anybody maybe got some experience releasing small batch products (maybe stumbled over some regulatory hurdles) that they'd like to share? :)

Offline octopus1

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Re: Anybody got some tips for releasing a product?
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2021, 04:58:04 AM »
If it weren’t a electrical product I would definitely suggest Etsy, pretty cheap to sell on and they don’t take to much of a cut. I might suggest a Instagram shop, it would take quite a bit of advertising but you get to keep all the profits and no monthly fee. Glad to hear that your selling them for real now!

Offline AeraCura_

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Re: Anybody got some tips for releasing a product?
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2021, 05:22:44 AM »
I've bought a few things off tindie.com. Not sure what their cut is but it's all integrated with hackaday.io so I would suggest creating a write up there first then linking it to tindie to generate interest.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2021, 05:20:49 PM by AeraCura_ »

Offline Mads Barnkob

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Re: Anybody got some tips for releasing a product?
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2021, 11:24:37 AM »
Something like ebay + paypal will cost you 10% in seller fee on ebay and 5% fee on using paypal.

Paypal is the consumer protection part of ebay and all issues is handled through ebay "solve a issue" system and you can return the money through paypal (or get forced to return payment, including shipping). Ebay is very much on side with the consumer and you will most likely never win an argument against a unsatified customer unless you have all papers, tracking code and pictures of package etc.

Selling a electronics product you need to CE certify it, which is not simple if you do it properly. For electronics something like EMC tests can be costly. Get hold of Weston and he help you, try to catch him on the IRC channel from the chat link in the header of the forum. He went through all this for his current probe: https://highvoltageforum.net/index.php?topic=1361.0 or if he sees this thread...
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Offline TMaxElectronics

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Re: Anybody got some tips for releasing a product?
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2021, 05:02:34 PM »
Yeah I was worried that CE certification might be required.
From what I can gather the applying directives of the CE stuff are for ROHS and EMC. ROHS should be fairly easy to certify, but the EMC stuff is harder (and more costly...).

The other problem that I have is that it is hard for me to guess how many I'd actually sell, and if I even have the financial capabilities to afford all of the testing and certification needed.
Crowd sourcing of course might work, but I haven't looked into that yet.

Offline Weston

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Re: Anybody got some tips for releasing a product?
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2021, 08:21:56 PM »
For small scale electronics stuff like this, there are two options. One is to go the full CE approval route, the other is just to fly under the radar.

CE compliance costs and all that are easily thousands of dollars and many many hours of your own time. You can even access the CE regulations without paying (or a lot of creative searching). Not being an expert you are basically going to need to pay someone to walk you through the process and identify the relevant standards and then for the actual testing lab.

I actually am not bothering with CE approval for my current probe right now, I am only shipping to countries outside the EU. It's more arguably exempt from FCC standards.

Most electronics boards on ebay, tindie, and even a good number on crowd supply, typically fly under the radar and pretend to be exempt or not even acknowledge the issue. Technically, even electronic development boards need CE approval.

MIDI controllers for tesla coils are pretty specialized so your market is going to be pretty small. The oneTesla kickstarter sold ~ 500 units https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/onetesla/onetesla-a-diy-singing-tesla-coil .

Marketing stuff like this is also pretty hard. I would say you should just make a small batch of PCBs via some PCBA service and list them on Tindie. If they sell quickly you can spend some more time figuring out what to do. The threshold for bothering with the approvals process is going to be really high through.

Offline TMaxElectronics

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Re: Anybody got some tips for releasing a product?
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2021, 12:39:00 AM »
Thanks for the tips weston :)
I think I'll just do the under the radar approach for now... seems quite a reasonable choice.

Quote
MIDI controllers for tesla coils are pretty specialized so your market is going to be pretty small.
yeah that's right :D But I'd already be insanely happy just selling 50 of the sticks ;)

On the other hand though: it is a market that doesn't have a lot of variety, and possibly potential for new products.
From what I have found there aren't really that many different midi interrupter designs out there, and those that do exist have a very narrow feature set.
One, maybe two voices, rudimentary playback controls and no effects or very limited effects.
The only things that can match the features in the stick at the moment (that I have found) are analog interrupters that create the pulse train directly from soundcard output, which can be controlled 100% by programs like FLStudio.

Offline Uspring

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Re: Anybody got some tips for releasing a product?
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2021, 02:26:37 PM »
Here in Germany the radar looks elsewhere. I occasionally have bought "dangerous high voltage stuff" from vendors in the US. Of course no CE, UL or whatever. It was shipped here and I got a notification from local customs, that something had arrived for me, which was to be identified and duty paid for. The officer had me unpack the items, had a quick look over it and asked me, what it was. I told him, got a puzzled look and he was off to search in a list for the duty rate. He came back and told me a number. I paid and left with my equipment. Not ever once was CE mentioned.

All of my US acquisitions turned out like this and there were a number of them. But this is no legal advice.


Offline TMaxElectronics

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Re: Anybody got some tips for releasing a product?
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2021, 01:15:40 AM »
Since I am located in germany, I'd be a little more concerned about consequences for not following the rules for the EU market, but I might just be over estimating things.

There is also the Elektrogesetz here which requires some registration for anyone wanting to sell electronics (in any volume), but I haven't looked into it enough yet to say what exactly it means for me. A way around that might be to sell the sticks as kits, without the optical transmitter attached, but again: haven't looked into that yet.

It's really quite annoying how hard it is to get into selling small volume stuff ::)

Offline Mads Barnkob

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Re: Anybody got some tips for releasing a product?
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2021, 08:48:13 PM »
You can make a product, slap a CE on it and start selling it in the European market. It is that simple.

It is all fun and games until someone get hurt.

You shall, as a manufacturer, on the demand of authorities within a timely manner (the time it takes to find a up to 10 year old technical dossier) deliver all YOUR documentation on YOUR product that it upholds EVERY single European law/directive/etc.

The quick and easy way to this: Follow standards. Is that cheap? No.

I am not saying that companies in China speculates in this, but I have yet to see a European law suit against a Chinese manufacturer of dangerous HV stuff. Properly because there is no leverage in any international law for it. But there is against a European citizen.

It is a long and complicated subject and I can not teach you all the required standards to follow as its very dependent on the directives your products falls under. But the most important are the safety ones. If you did all your safety analysis, mitigation and documentation, there would properly be more line on some EMC issues. But avoid getting people hurt/killed :)
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Re: Anybody got some tips for releasing a product?
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2021, 08:48:13 PM »

 


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